CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Sep 14, 2018, 5:38 PM ET

SpaceX changes plans to send tourists around the moon


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SpaceX said it has signed the first private moon traveler, with some changes to its original game plan.

The big reveal on who it is — and when the flight to the moon will be — will be announced Monday at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

It's not the same mission SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined last year. The original plan called for two paying passengers to fly around the moon this year, using a Falcon Heavy rocket and a Dragon crew capsule.

At the time, Musk said the pair approached SpaceX about sending them on a weeklong flight and paid a "significant" deposit for the trip.

The new strategy is to still fly around the moon, but using an even bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship. And now, it appears there will be only one person aboard.

Given that this new BFR rocket, as it's dubbed, has yet to be built, the flight presumably is at least a few years off.

SpaceX put out the teaser via Twitter late Thursday, and Musk also tweeted out the news. Company representatives declined to offer additional details Friday.

Musk's ultimate goal is to colonize Mars. This lunar mission — a flyby, not a landing — represents "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space," SpaceX said in a tweet.

On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission," implying there will be more.

This could be humanity's first lunar visit since 1972, depending on how NASA's latest moon plans shape up. Twenty-four NASA astronauts flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and only 12 of them strolled its dusty surface. Next July will mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing by Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

NASA is shooting for its own flyby of the moon, with a crew, around 2023. The space agency aims to build a gateway in the vicinity of the moon, complete with staff, during the 2020s. It's envisioned as a base for exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.


The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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  • äskew

    Alice Cramden?

  • Ted Mittelstaedt

    The problem with colonizing Mars was outlined very simply in the movie Gravity. The energy required to transport a person to Mars is very much greater than simply breeding people there. You would need around 5,000 breeding pairs (married couples) transported to Mars to maintain enough genetic diversity for the population to remain stable in the future. Assuming cost per person is $250k for a one-way ticket that's 2.5 billion dolllars to get them all there. Then likely more billions for shipping food to them. Housing all those people and their children would take a lot of construction materials.

  • EK the greek

    Big reveal :Trump on a one way flight

  • ABCNewsmoderator1


  • Weazerdogg

    Send them around the moon ... one toke at a time!

  • LastSecondTakedown

    That would be a difficult thing to sell, I'd imagine. Perks - you get to see the moon...which has nothing at all on it. Cons - no beaches, no mountains, you very well could die traveling to and from there, no oxygen, no diners, no steak.

  • Indie6050

    Are there any estimates on the price of the ticket ?

  • Because


    We can't get to the moon. BFR has yet to be built and Musk is upset with the whole Space X program --that's what's really wrong with him. But if anyone can figure it out it should be someone as smart and determined as Musk. Poor guy spent a lot of money and will spend more.

  • cc-vortex

    BFR? haha, awesome name that 99% of population will never understand :)

  • thinkmore

    The idea of "colonizing" Mars is absurd. The cost to benefit would be terrible and the risks enormous.

  • Bongs&Thongs

    if it's not Boeing im not going

  • Joe V

    It's going to be pretty risky. NASA had years of experience in human spaceflight under its belt with Mercury and Gemini before trying to send humans to the moon on Apollo. There is also a lot of complex infrastructure required such as a deep space tracking network, mission control and the recovery forces. It all has to work perfectly the first time and just one little mistake and the human occupant can end up dead and gone forever.

  • Tralfaz Gottrockets

    So, Ralph can finally send Alice?

  • Robert Earnest

    Sounds like someone with a death wish.